We’re only a few weeks away from the debut of Doctor Who spin-off Class, but as of yet we’re still relatively in the dark about what to expect. While some details and casting news were released earlier in the year we’ve still seen no trailer or official pictures for the sci-fi series, and even the basic premise of what exactly these students of Coal Hill School are up to in the series (and how the Doctor fits into it) have largely eluded us.
At least, until now – because this week the basic premise of Class has finally been revealed, and it turns out it’s rather familiar to fans of Doctor Who spin-offs.
“Coal Hill has existed in Doctor Who since literally episode one,” series creator Patrick Ness told Empire magazine. “The Doctor’s granddaughter went there. So we thought, ‘All that time activity at the school, has that caused any problems? What do you know, it has!”
As it turns out, according to the preview article (which also reveals Class’ airdate as sometime in October), Coal Hill has been damaged through all the time travel that’s occurred there over the years of Doctor Who, causing tears in space-time that allow aliens and other creatures to come to Earth from all over the galaxy. Or in the words of the article – “the boundaries of space-time have been stretched to breaking point, allowing all manner of creatures through.”
Hmm...now where have we heard that before?
Yep, that’s right – Class follows more or less the same premise as Torchwood, which saw a team based near a “rift” in space and time that allowed aliens and various other enemies from throughout time and space to pop up in Cardiff. It also bears resemblance to a storyline from Doctor Who series five where time was “cracked” allowing some creatures to similarly escape to other times and places, so it's definitely working on its Whoniverse pedigree.
And considering that this is a series that's supposed to deal with adult themes and air on BBC3, it begins to look more and more like this is a show that Torchwood fans will love – even though it probably doesn’t spell great things for anyone who wants the John Barrowman series back on air (after all, why would they need two shows with such a similar set-up?).
The Class of '16
Still, with all that said we’re sure that beyond the basic plot structure there’s a lot that will differentiate Class from Torchwood, with Patrick Ness insisting that this is a very different sort of sci-fi adventure.
“We’re not telling stories of the ‘chosen ones’,” he said.
“It’s happenstance that puts these people [at the centre of things]. What if your timing is just weird and things happen to you? How do you deal with it? I’m interested in real consequences. The Doctor is always exciting, but he never [stays]. He goes off on the next adventure. What happens to real people?”
Hopefully, it won’t be too long before we find out.
Class will air on BBC3 online this October